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A Daughter’s Journey: Still a Child
Posted on May 18th, 20175/18/17 |
Somewhere in the chaos of caring for my parents, raising my children, running my household, and working part-time, my body turned on me.
Six months ago, I started feeling unusually tired. Mowing the lawn, which I used to tackle after my workout, left me napping on the couch. Pretty soon, any exertion wiped me out. In the mornings, my hands were clumsy and felt asleep hours after the rest of my body was awake. My grip weakened, and I couldn’t pick up a jug of milk without wincing.
I went to the doctor half knowing, but not wanting to believe, the diagnosis: rheumatoid arthritis.
I once read a memoir of a woman who died from cervical cancer. She left behind a husband, a 5-year-old daughter, and an unforgettable analogy: She pictured her fight like the arcade game Space Invaders, where her medicine took aim at an innumerable enemy.
Her words highlighted how, even though someone may appear fine, a body can be at war with itself. This autoimmune disease is part of me now, and the best-case scenario is to slow it down. I will be taking pills every day, enduring monthly blood tests, and sitting through frequent ultrasounds to gauge the advancement of this illness that has no cure.
Outside of my husband, the first people I told were my parents. I didn’t want to burden them, but I needed their support, encouragement, and advice. They, better than anyone, understood how I grieved for what my life had been and how I worried about the future.
Even though sometimes the roles seem reversed, they’ll always be my parents.
BrightStar Care is honored to feature Leah’s unique story, an experience shared by many adult children as their parents grow older and caregiving roles begin to reverse. Follow Leah’s journey here.
All names, including the author’s, have been changed to protect identities, and Leah has no affiliation with BrightStar Care.
Filed under: A Daughter's Journey Blog Series